Infernal Hope – A Haibun

The new year begins in the darkness of winter. We try to light it up with fireworks and cheers, loud illusions of summer happiness in the frosty night air.

Yet there is no inferno that can thaw the the frozen fear of what this new year, this new decade will bring. The crackle of global warming stabbing glaciers into rising oceans while lighting never ending fires. The heated breaths of chanting voices wanting to be heard or wanting to hear heads rolling. The red faced demands of hot-under-the-collar public servants who expect a tip for doing their job.

The twelve chimes of midnight mask my reddened eyes streaming with red-hot tears and the choked sobs of my frozen throat that cannot – can not – defrost despite the promise of new beginnings. The illusion of a friendly inferno only works until you catch on fire. Still, I walk towards that new morning sun.

Winter’s cold ignites
The need for new illusions
Hope can’t wait for Spring

Hello! Happy New Year! This is my first post of 2020 and it’s a triple play! Ok, so one prompt is a missed one from last week (Sorry, Patrick! I was away and missed the deadline but I’m still on a streak!) but the rest are current. I am especially excited about the picture prompt (above) from Sadje who has taken up the “What do you see?” Challenge from Hélène who passed away last year.

Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #213 – Illusions and #214 – Inferno came together with Björn’s first dVerse haibun prompt of the year – beginnings to express my feelings about the start of this new year. Sadje’s picture was the cherry on top of this trifecta of prompts.

Beginnings are usually hopeful events however the news of the last few weeks have been anything but hopeful. This is an election year in the USA and I can already feel the tension and am bracing myself for disappointment. Why? Because people nowadays seem to thrive on fear, not hope. Maybe like in Star Wars Episode VIII, we are looking for the one person (or thing or event) to bring us hope. I think, though, that we have to look to ourselves for hope – to be the hope and even to share that with others.

©️ 2020 iido

Gratitude Gestures – A Haibun

In the chilly autumn evening, deep contented sighs battle with the hum of heated air wafting from the grate. The food has disappeared but the smell of fullness lingers: the tart scent of oranges in the cranberry sauce, the savory thyme lining the turkey’s moist cavity, the sweet butter hiding in the mashed potatoes.

Unsaid words also hide in the small gestures of family. “I love you” is plated with each dish on the table. “Take care of yourself” is served with second helpings. All desserts come with a side of “glad you decided to spend this holiday with us this year”. “Thank you’s” are coded in each utensil that is washed.

Gratitude gestures

With knives and forks and drink toasts

Autumn’s chill dissolves

I’m coming out of my food coma and wrote this haibun for Frank Tassone’s gratitude themed Haibun Monday at d’Verse and Go Dog Go’s Tuesday writing prompt themed “Thanksgiving”.

We had a traditional American Thanksgiving meal at my in-laws. I was looking forward to Thanksgiving with a Vietnamese twist however there was no turkey pho or banh mi with cranberry relish. The food was still delicious and watching the cousins play together made the occasion even more special.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year – for not only my family (immediate and extended) but also for the family of friends I have been blessed with here on WP, as well as, in real life, at school, church and my running group. The saying “many hands make light work” come to mind in terms of the many hands that touch my life and make light work of and support the improvements I need to do to become a better version of myself.

As this holiday season gets underway, I hope we all get a chance to pause and appreciate the people, things and activities that bring joy to our lives.

©️ iido 2019

Salt of the City – A Haibun

They were mostly tall, thin, and dark skinned like the softest black velvet. Their clothes hung on them. Their feet in flip-flops covered with dust. Yet their voices were strong, offering their wares in accented English – mini Eiffel towers, larger Eiffel towers, ones that light up as if it were covered with fireflies, ones that were staid. Their bodies seemed strong, carrying large sacks of these trinkets to different parts of the park. The odor of their sweat was strong, evidence of their hard work in the heat.

They stood out among the tourists – they were there working, laboring under the sun – while we were there for fun, our choice to stand in lines under the sun.

Maybe they arrived in this city with a degree or some other skills; definitely they arrived with hope. Yet their labor in the City of Lights seemed to diminish the light in their own eyes.

Summer’s salty sweat

Seasons the immigrant’s work

Hope masks bitterness

This haibun was inspired by two prompts: Frank at D’Verse for Haibun Monday requested a Haibun inspired by labor, workers in honor of Labor Day and Jamie at The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt requested poems inspired by a city. (Responses to Jamie’s Prompt can be found here.)

When we visited Paris this summer, I was surprised by how much the area around the Eiffel Tower has changed. The area was surrounded by a see-through barrier. You had to go through security before you could even get close to the tower. This was much different than when I visited the tower in early 2001.

I also noticed the men (they were all men) who were clearly immigrants to Paris selling souvenirs. I don’t remember them on my last trip there. But it made me wonder about them, their stories, if they were selling souvenirs of their own accord, if they had families, if they had ever gone up to the top of the tower they were selling miniatures of.

I always wonder if workers who sell from blankets on street corners might be trafficking victims and that by buying these wares, I am complicit in this modern day slavery. I know these men were working hard – it was evident in their hands and feet, their eyes. When is this type of labor honored?

©️ iido 2019

Fated Father – A Haibun

I knew you were going to be the best father for my children. Fate – or maybe my subconscious heart – told me the first time we met. We were seated at the diner after a college party and you were telling me about your dad. We were smoking because you could still do that back then.

As you exhaled and smoke embraced your face, time seemed to slow and as the smoke cleared, I stopped hearing your voice and instead heard another saying, “I can see this man being next to me as I’m giving birth.” An odd thing to have come into my head since I was 21 and no way near wanting to have a baby.

Still, that thought stayed with me. And now, six children later (though only four are here with us), I can say that I was right.

Rooted love withstands
So entwined limbs can bear fruit
Life perennial

This haibun is for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #197 – Fathers. I’ve chosen to tell the true story of the first time I met my husband. It was the first thought that popped into my head for this prompt.

©️ iido 2019

Soul Fertilizer – A Haibun and Running Update

The packed, gravel path crunches like my favorite candy bar beneath my feet.  The smell is not delicious chocolate but cow patties, liquified and repurposed. The steam from this concoction rises from the turned earth like the steam from my body on this 6 mile run. The smells are similar but mine reeks of determination and accomplishment. Each run is risky – maybe if I was more consistent, I would know what to expect, I would know that I wouldn’t fail, that I would keep going and not give up.  But I don’t, except for today – today, my run wasn’t shit, but it did fertilize my soul.

Risk in every step

But I’m not going gently

In that fading light

This haibun was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #183 – Risk and also incorporates Beth’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe to use the phrase “fading light”.

I haven’t done an update on my training for the Niagara Falls International Women’s Half Marathon that I am training for – maybe it’s because I really haven’t been consistent with my training at all. With sick kids and spring break and other obligations, running has definitely taken a back seat except for this past weekend when I was able to get a run in with a local friend of mine who is also part of Moms RUN this Town.

Danielle was one of the first running moms I met when we moved to PA. She recently had an adorable baby boy and is training for the same half marathon in Niagara as I am (she was the one who actually told me about this race). Danielle is one of the most kind, energetic and determined women that I have met here.  Being a local, she taught me so much about this area (like how to pronounce certain words, introducing me to the local farmers’ market) when I first arrived.  Running with Danielle is always fun and this run was no exception. We were even able to see the Easter Bunny at the end of our run!

After this spring break week, I am getting back into a regular schedule with running so be ready for more sweaty pictures of me!

©️ iido 2019

The Girls at Sunrise – A Haibun

We’re laying on top of the van under a scratchy blanket with What’s His Name. The cold fingertips of morning mist drag across our skin, weighing down the beads around us with condensation.

The sun makes it slow appearance, a disapproving gaze covering The Big Easy as well as the skyline of New Orleans. We’re hoping the sun’s warmth forgives and forgets like we’ve forgotten where the blue top with embroidered flowers went.

Puckered flesh exchanged
Innocence for plastic beads
At sunrise – regret

*****

For Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #178 – Sunrise. Also incorporating last week’s dVerse Poetics theme: Mardi Gras.

©️ iido 2019

March Madness – A Haibun

It is March and I am Mad. The sky is a vibrant electric blue. The clouds are soft cotton pillows. The sun is bright but not warm enough to melt the recent snow. It is a fake spring.

But when a gentle wind blows, soothing my brow with the feel of soft yellow daffodils and hot magenta tulips, I release the anger and betrayal.

Disappointment healed

By springs flowers marching on

The promise of hope


Another coming together of prompts! Merrill at dVerse requested a Haibun about “March Madness” while Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt asked: How does nature inspire joy in you, inspire your creativity and perhaps even your sense of peace? For me, the symptoms of spring sparks joy however where I am now, spring has been a tease – snowing one day then 60 degree temperatures the next. It is enough to drive one mad!

©️ iido 2019